white house

Where Does CBS News Get Off Claiming Elena Kagan Is a Lesbian?

When the White House goes after the media, usually it’s Fox News. Yesterday, it was CBS — for letting former Bush aide Ben Domenech publish a blog post outing Elena Kagan as a lesbian.

Domenech, who authors the New Ledger blog, from which CBS re-published his item, might easily be using Kagan’s sexuality as a way to slime her. But is he lying?

Ben Domenech, a former Bush administration aide and Republican Senate staffer, wrote that President Obama would “please” much of his base by picking the “first openly gay justice.” An administration official, who asked not to be identified discussing personal matters, said Kagan is not a lesbian.

CBS initially refused to pull the posting, prompting Anita Dunn, a former White House communications director who is working with the administration on the high court vacancy, to say: “The fact that they’ve chosen to become enablers of people posting lies on their site tells us where the journalistic standards of CBS are in 2010.” She said the network was giving a platform to a blogger “with a history of plagiarism” who was “applying old stereotypes to single women with successful careers.”

The network deleted the posting Thursday night after Domenech said he was merely repeating a rumor. The flare-up underscores how quickly the battle over a Supreme Court nominee — or even a potential nominee — can turn searingly personal. Most major news organizations have policies against “outing” gays or reporting on the sex lives of public officials unless they are related to their public duties.

Why was the White House so upset? Because Kagan is not a lesbian, claims spokesman Ben LaBolt, and saying she is amounts to “false charges.”

Which is funny, because Kagan is, in fact, a homogay, and is out among personal friends, a handful of Kagan know-it-alls keep insisting to Queerty. But not the public, evidently — which explains the White House’s bold reaction to anyone claiming she is. Most curious, then, that the White House would come to her “defense” (should we call it that?) so quickly. Might we interpret that as a clue she really is on Obama’s short list of potential Supreme Court nominees, whose reputation he wants to protect?